In July 2013, Volunteer Victoria’s Youth Program hosted the first Community Youth Leadership Summit! Part of the week was reflecting on volunteering, the community, and the Summit in the format of a blog post. Kathy was one of our awesome participants who put her feelings, thoughts, and ideas into a great blog post for us to share with you!
My name is Kathy, I’m sixteen years old, and I recently participated in this year’s Community Youth Leadership Summit at Volunteer Victoria. This week has really opened my eyes to the entire world of volunteerism that is located right in Victoria and gave me the confidence and encouragement to keep volunteering.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved making the people around me smile. Whether it was by holding a door for a stranger, handing out candy at Halloween, or simply cracking a joke, I always found ways to make someone’s day a little brighter. a person’s beaming face was a sight I could never become tired of.
As I started growing up however, helping others became less and less a priority. Especially starting high school, I felt like I was exposed to a new world. I was introduced to the idea of “fitting in” and I started thinking about of myself and what others thought. During my time immersed in my self centered world, I knew in the back of my mind I wasn’t being my true self.
It wasn’t until grade ten that I truly understood the impact of volunteerism. I unexpectedly found myself in a leadership position leading a grade retreat for a group of elementary schools aged youth. So, a group of my classmates and I started preparing for the day of the retreat and it gave me the opportunity to get to know more of my peers who had the same love for helping others. I was overcome with enthusiasm and fulfillment from being part of a team working together to deliver a lively retreat.
The entire retreat was full of singing, playing, and laughing. I remember looking out at all of the kids and seeing so many genuine smiles. I quickly realized that I had a lot of power– the power to bring light into other people’s lives. In those moments, I knew that I was being my true self, the best version of myself.
Through my experience, I learned that volunteering is a way to bring me back to my true self and it helped me balance my priorities at the same time. I used volunteering as a tool to help me rediscover myself by bringing out the good qualities I always had within me. Seeing the joy of everyone around me and knowing that I was a part of it drives me to continue helping others today.